We all talk a good game about how to eat, what to eat, and the importance of preparing our own food from quality ingredients. The truth is that everyone faces the same dilemmas from time to time. Whether it's travel, working late, business lunches, social outings, or simply not being interested in cooking, there are many reasons that eating that home cooked meal may not always be possible.
I've decided to pose a series of questions to our members on a weekly basis on what gets them through these situations. You might be surprised at some of the answers and others might be exactly what you expected — either way, I'm hopeful that this will help you navigate your way through the myriad of awkward, inconvenient, or simply lazy situations you find yourself in.
Ken Sharlin from Springfield, Missouri
CA: Do you put much thought into where you eat out? Or do you simply go anywhere and try to make do with what's on the menu?
KS: My wife, Valerie, and I don't eat out a lot. But when we do there are only a few places in our area where we feel comfortable eating the food. Of course, sometimes we are invited to a restaurant and in those cases we do try to make do with what is on the menu.
CA: Most memorable restaurant meal in (or near) Springfield?
KS: One of the most fun meals we had in recent years was a farm-to-table dinner at an urban organic farm in our community. For the most part, however, what makes the meal for me is the company with whom I am sharing the food. I tend to remember less the actual food than the experience, although I certainly care about what I put in my mouth.
CA: Most memorable restaurant meal outside of Springfield?
KS: Many wonderful meals all around the world over the years. Recently, I ate at Symbowl in Kirkwood (St. Louis), Missouri, at the invitation of the owner, Becky Schoenig, and a fellow functional medicine doctor, Emily Hecker. I love the whole "food as medicine" concept of the restaurant and how the menu is color-coded to make it easier for those following a strict food plan. Everything was delicious!
CA: For people with special diets, how do you suggest they talk with restaurant staff in order to get what they need?
KS: Just provide straight talk. Not everyone is going to understand "AIP" or "keto." Tell the waiter the kinds of foods you want and most decent restaurants can be accommodating.
CA: Do you prepare an emergency meal when you travel? If so, what do you include?
KS: We do bring food with us when we travel. Usually, we bring raw almonds, cut up veggies, berries, jerky, herbal tea bags, water, coffee. If we are staying where there is a refrigerator we may go to a local market and pick up foods to keep in our room.
CA: Your favorite quick meal to prepare at home?
KS: You can never go wrong with a side of wild Alaskan salmon. I like to rub it in some olive oil, then place it on parchment paper. I sprinkle some spices on the fish like sea salt, pepper, garlic, and lay some sliced up lemon on top. Then, I wrap it in aluminum foil and throw it on the grill for 10 minutes. In the meantime, I make a garden salad, or roast some veggies on the grill or in my oven. I might have it with a small sweet potato topped with grass fed butter.
CA: Do you consume alcohol? Explain why you think it is or isn’t a good idea.
KS: I enjoy a glass of wine occasionally, but not on a regular basis. It has a tendency to disrupt my sleep and make me less productive.
CA: In terms of food, what is your guilty pleasure?
KS: I keep 85% dark chocolate around the house and have some almost everyday!
I am a general neurologist with an interest in all aspects of neurology, including investigating and treating the root causes of disease (Functional Medicine). I see patients in Ozark, MO. Examples of conditions I treat include epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, migraine, neuropathy, and sleep disorders (such as sleep apnea and narcolepsy). Additionally, I see patients with complex symptoms presentations including weakness, numbness, imbalance, memory loss, pain, and fatigue. I have extensive experience in the clinical use of Botox for management of migraine, blepharospasm, hemifacial spasm, cervical dystonia and spasticity. I manage many patients with implanted Vagal Nerve Stimulators (VNS - Liva Nova) for intractable epilepsy, and with Baclofen pumps for spasticity. I perform standard neurodiagnostics, including nerve conduction testing/electomyography (NCT/EMG), electroencephalography (EEG), and polysomnography.
In addition to the above I have embarked on an education and practice development in Functional Medicine. My team includes a Registered/Licensed Dietician, an Occupational Therapist experienced in holistic manual therapy modalities, a Physical Therapist who is a Personal trainer and CrossFit certified strength/mobility coach, and Licensed Massage Therapist whose focus includes Emotion Code, Heartmath, and Health Education. Functional Medicine uses a systems biology framework to understand the imbalances that lead to illness (www.ifm.org). I take a personalized, integrated approach to patient care that involves not only pharmaceuticals and biotechnology, but modifiable lifestyle factors, genetics, and nutraceuticals. I use advanced testing through Genova Diagnostics, Cyrex Laboratories, Doctors Data, Cell Science Systems, as well as Quest Diagnostics (including Berkley HeartLab and Athena Diagnostics) for diagnosis and tracking of therapeutic progress.